The trail to Dragon’s Teeth is a short and easy hike on Maui’s northwestern shore at Makaluapuna Point in Kapalua.
Dragon’s Teeth, aptly named after its appearance, is the result of one of the last lava flows on Maui creating unique rock formations that resemble the teeth of a dragon.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll cover everything from how to get there, where to park, and nearby activities to make the most of your time in the area!
Dragon’s Teeth Trail Snapshot
|Distance||0.6 miles (out and back) 0.3 miles one way|
|Duration||15 minutes to 1 hour|
|Trail Type||Out and back|
|Bathrooms||Not at the trail but there are nearby establishments with bathrooms|
|Fee||Free to park and visit|
|Activities||Walking, picnicking, bird watching, whale and turtle watching, photography|
|Special Attributes||Lava rock formations, views of Moloka’i island, Labyrinth|
Dragon’s Teeth Rock Formations
Dragon’s Teeth was formed as a result of one of the last lava flows from West Maui Volcano thousands of years ago. The lava flow met the intense ocean waves and strong sea winds causing it to jut upwards, cool, and harden, creating the jagged black rock appearance.
These unique lava rock formations resemble sharp teeth jutting from the jaw of a “dragon”, which is how this Maui landmark got its name.
Over the years, the sun and saltwater have bleached the rocks giving them a lighter appearance, and the crashing waves have created some interesting patterns in the rocks.
Dragon’s Teeth Location
Dragon’s Teeth is located on the northwestern shore of Maui at Makaluapuna Point in Kapalua, behind the Ritz-Carlton.
To get to Dragon’s Teeth, take lower Honoapi’ilani Hwy to Office Road, near Mile Marker 30. Follow Office Road to the end of the road. Turn right onto Lower Honoapi’ilani for just a short distance and then turn left into a small parking lot.
There is a small parking area for Dragon’s Teeth at the trailhead. There are no bathrooms or other amenities available here.
Hiking Dragon’s Teeth
The trail to Dragon’s Teeth is a short 0.6-mile out-and-back (0.3 miles one way) dirt path.
This is a short and easy trail that heads towards the ocean to Makaluapuna Point.
From the parking lot, the trail is easy to find. Go through a break in the trees and you’ll find Dragon’s Teeth Access Trail path which leads towards the lava rock formation point.
IMPORTANT: Ancient Hawaiian Burial Ground
To the right of the trail is a large hedgerow that marks an ancient Hawaiian burial site called Honokahua. It’s estimated that there are thousands of iwi (human bodies) buried here potentially dating back to 600 A.D.
There is a sign that marks the ancient burial ground to the right of the trail. This is a sacred site for Hawaiian cultural practices and entry is discouraged. Please be respectful and stay out of this area.
Dragon’s Teeth Access Trail Path
Continue along the dirt path toward the ocean. To the left is the Kapalua Golf Course so be wary of stray golf balls. After a short distance, you’ll come to the rock peninsula. These rocks can be ragged and slippery so be very careful and watch your step!
Don’t get too close to the edge, especially when the waves are big. A fall on these sharp rocks could be fatal.
Towards the middle of Makaluapuna Point, you’ll find Kapalua Labyrinth, a maze of rocks in concentric circles.
Labyrinths are created for meditation and prayer. The circular path is thought to be a juxtaposition to life’s path. So, while you’re visiting Dragon’s Teeth, head to the Labyrinth for a meditative walk to reflect and clear your mind.
What to Bring
Since this is a short and easy hike, you won’t need a ton of gear. However, there are a few items you’ll want to bring on this hike:
- Hiking Shoes: The rocks can be a little tricky to walk on. If you don’t have stable footing, you may prefer to wear a solid hiking shoe.
- Water: The Hawaiian heat will make you sweat. Don’t forget to bring water and stay hydrated!
- Sun protection: Sun potection is a must in Hawaii. Wear a good SPF and bring a hat to protect your face from the sun.
- Camera: I realize most people have a camera with them at all times on their phones, but this is a place you’ll want to capture so you’ll have the memories for years to come.
Dragon’s Teeth Hike Quick Tips
- Whale and turtle watching
Makalupuna Point is a great place to watch for turtles or whales. Turtles can be spotted year-round and you may catch a glimpse of some whales in the winter months.
- Visit the point at sunset or sunrise
If you visit Dragon’s Teeth earlier or later in the day, not only will it be cooler, it’s also a great place to catch the sunrise or sunset!
- Check the weather beforehand
You don’t want to get caught on the rocks when there are heavy winds or rain. Err on the side of caution and check the weather at Dragon’s Teeth beforehand.
- Be careful of waves
Watch your step, and don’t get too close to the edge of the rocks. The waves can wash over the edge and a fall could be fatal.
- Views of Moloka’i Island
Moloka’i island is right by Dragon’s Teeth so you’ll catch some good views of this Hawaiin island.
Make a Day of it: Nearby Activities
D.T. Fleming Beach
DT Fleming Beach is just to the right of Dragon’s Teeth, within walking distance. The beach does have its own parking lot and there are lifeguards there. Other amenities include bathrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic tables.
Oneloa Beach (Ironwoods Beach)
On the other side of Dragon’s Teeth, to the left, you’ll find Oneloa Beach. Oneloa Beach, also known as Ironwoods Beach, is a quieter beach if you’d rather avoid crowds.
This beach does have outdoor showers, but no bathrooms. There are also no lifeguards, so use this beach at your own discretion.
Places to Eat Nearby
The Honolua Store is right on the way to the parking lot of Dragon’s Teeth, so you can stop in and grab a take-out lunch for a picnic by the ocean.
The Honolua Store serves breakfast and lunch. They serve deli sandwiches, smoothies, salads, burgers, local fish, and an array of coffee, teas, and lemonades. Fun finds include Ube Pancakes, Build Your Own Poke Bowls, and Mahi Mahi Tacos.
They also offer a variety of Hawaiian gifts, local produce from Maui farms, fresh baked goods, and fine wines.
The Burger Shack
The Burger Shack is just a short walk from Dragon’s Teeth, right on the beach. Here you can find burgers, hot dogs, and decadent shakes with spectacular ocean views.
Other Hikes Nearby
Kapalua Coastal Trail
Dragon’s Teeth is right off the Kapalua Coastal Trail. If you’re looking for more of a walk, you can continue along the Kapalua Coastal Trail. This is a 2.5-mile mostly paved out-and-back trail that follows along the coastline.
Mahana Ridge Trail
The Mahana Ridge Trail starts at D.T. Fleming Park. This is an advanced 10-mile out-and-back hike if you’re looking for more of an adventure.
Other Hikes in Maui
Maui is full of fantastic hiking trails ranging in difficulty. Here are a few of my favorite hikes on Maui.
Waihe’e Ridge Trail
The Waihe’e Ridge Trail is a 5-mile out-and-back hike (2.5 miles one way) in Wailuku that follows along a ridgeline of the West Maui Mountains. This is a challenging hike, so it’s not for everyone. It ascends the West Maui Mountains nearly the whole length of the trail, but the views are spectacular and make it well worth it!
Honolua Bay Access Trail
Honolua Bay Access Trail is an easy 0.6-mile out-and-back trail through a moss-covered enchanted forest on the northwestern coast of Maui that leads to the infamous Honolua Bay Beach.
This hike encapsulates the essence of Maui with lush rainforest greenery, lava rock cliffs, and sparkling ocean views.
Sliding Sands Trail
The Sliding Sands Trail is an 11.2-mile out-and-back trail that starts near the summit of Haleakala Volcano at nearly 10,000’ above sea level and descends towards the volcano crater.
Pa Ka’oao Trail
The Pa Ka’oao Trail is also near the Haleakala summit. If the Sliding Sands Trail seems a bit too daunting, you can do this shorter and easier 0.5-mile trail (0.25 miles one-way) and still catch all the same views of the Haleakala crater.
Dragon’s Teeth is a fun and quick hike on the northwest shore of Maui offering spectacular ocean views. Unless you’re in the Kapalua area, I’m not sure it’s worth the drive since there are so many other amazing Maui landmarks.